INTRODUCING: The Depancel Serie-A Allure is a handsome chronograph at an attractive price INTRODUCING: The Depancel Serie-A Allure is a handsome chronograph at an attractive price

INTRODUCING: The Depancel Serie-A Allure is a handsome chronograph at an attractive price

Fergus Nash

To be honest, there’s no shortage of racing-inspired chronographs in the world. The inherent link between motorsports and watchmaking essentially guarantees that brands will leap on that theme for design, with elements of high-precision engineering and timing-based supremacy binding the two worlds together. So, with the popular genre so saturated, what do the young French brand Depancel have to offer? The Depancel Serie-A Allure has no pretentiousness about it, nor a phoney backstory to give it a sense of validity. Instead, it focuses on giving people exactly what they want in an attractive and affordable package.

For their first automatic chronograph release, Depancel went down the path of crowdsourcing ideas for the watch, ensuring that the majority of their fans would continue to enjoy their releases. This kind of approach definitely panders to established customers, however it also attracts new ones by proving their loyalty to their supporters. Voting options included decisions such as the style of bezel and the movement, while the overall style was destined to fit within their Serie-A range. While the Serie-P focuses on modern sportiness and the Serie-R goes in a more retro racing direction, the Serie-A watches so far have been dedicated to an elegance that balances modern and vintage elements well. First was a standard three-hander followed by a triple-date under the ‘Elegance’ collection, and now it’s expanded with the Depancel Serie-A Allure automatic chronograph.

The case

With sportiness and quick legibility in mind, the case has been made with a 43mm diameter that gives it an aggressive stockiness on-wrist. Its 15mm thickness shouldn’t be surprising as an automatic chronograph, and when it comes to motor racing you’re probably not too concerned about slipping it under a cuff. The thickness also helps the 100m of water resistance that makes the watch pool-friendly. The case itself doesn’t have much of a drastic personality, allowing most of the focus to be kept on the dial, however there are a few pleasing features for those who look closely.

The finishing on the case is fairly standard albeit well-done with brushed surfaces and polished chamfered edges, keeping some glamour in with the tool watch aesthetic. Beyond the finishing, the pushers and crown have some cool attributes. The pushers are milled with rings to evoke an engine’s pistons, and in place of knurling for grip the crown has three octagonal layers, splayed so that the red accented layer also has outwardly-facing points. On the other side, there is a high-polished plaque that lists the watch’s unique serial number.

The dial

The amount of thought put into this dial is almost as striking as the dial itself, with a lot of intricate details that are balanced incredibly well. The Depancel Serie-A Allure is a bicompax chronograph, meaning it simply has two subdials symmetrically placed at 3 and 9 o’clock. The 3 o’clock subdial counts the minutes once the chronograph is activated, and the one at 9 features a running seconds to see that the movement is working when the chronograph isn’t active. Each of them have engraved concentric circles that give them a sunburst effect, with a smooth outer bezel for the markings to be read clearly. The central section of the dial has a three-dimensional honeycomb pattern that looks like the grille on a sports car, letting lots of air in to cool those high-performance parts.

The outer ring of what could technically be called a sector dial has a circular brushing pattern that forms an excellent backdrop of the applied hour markers, with Arabic numerals at 2, 4, 8, and 10 and indices everywhere else. The Depancel shield logo is used as the 12 o’clock marker, with the script logo printed underneath innocuously. Adding to the overall sense of depth is an angled chapter ring above the hour markers, providing a simpler segmented track to use with the minute hand if you don’t need the accuracy down to 1/5th of a second.

Colour is an important part of any watch design, and the Depancel Serie-A Allure does a fantastic job of introducing an extra layer of adrenaline within its colour choices. The black or panda dial options are easy choices if you want something versatile and classic, but the iridescent petrol blue dial is exhilarating to the eye, almost taking on a peacock effect. While red is also a common accent colour to throw in, Depancel emphasise the countdown elements of the minutes subdial, chapter ring minute markers, and the first 15 seconds of chronograph action with a thrilling red-to-orange gradient.

The movement

With a 40% majority voting for an industrial Swiss movement, the choice of an ETA 7753 was a bit of a no-brainer for the Depancel Serie-A Allure. Having been part of the racing chronograph revolution in the 1970s, the cam-actuated movement has been reliably serving Swiss watches for decades. It has a beat rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour across a 42 hour power reserve, and a date complication that can be adjusted via a hidden pusher at 10 o’clock, next to the Limited Edition plaque. Depancel have done a fantastic job decorating the automatic winding rotor, mirroring the honeycomb dial details in an etching, as well as making cuts into the edges to simulate the look of a brake disk. The sapphire display caseback is well sized to show off this movement, and has the Serie-A Allure model name printed above the weight bearing.

The straps

Although most watch collectors would say you should always buy the bracelet, the leather strap version of the Depancel Serie-A Allure is incredibly attractive. Available in black or brown, the leather is padded with ridges that give it a real car upholstery appearance as well as softened comfort, and a subtle nod to the watch’s origins is visible with French flag stitching on one of the upper corners. Of course, the steel bracelet is still there should it be your preference, with brushed H-links and polished centres.

The Depancel Serie-A Allure pricing and availability:

The Depancel Serie-A Allure is available for pre-order from this link here at a discounted rate of $1,695 USD or €1,595, while the final RRP will be $1,995 USD or €1,895.

Case Material Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions 43mm x 15mm
Water-Resistance 100m
Dial Black / White / Blue
Straps Black or brown leather / Steel bracelet
Movement ETA 7753
Power Reserve 48 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date
Price $1,695 USD or €1,595